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Satisfaction With Police--What Matters?

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2002
10 pages
This brochure from the National Institute of Justice discusses the factors that contribute to people’s satisfaction with the police.
The various factors that contribute to individuals’ positive views of police performance are addressed in this brochure from the National Institute of Justice. After asserting that law enforcement administrators are highly concerned about the levels of public satisfaction with police, the authors describe telephone interviews conducted with 5,361 residents in 58 neighborhoods in Indianapolis, Indiana, and St. Petersburg, Florida, that addressed issues of public opinion of police performance. Arguing that personal experience and encounters with police, perceptions of neighborhood quality of life, and the economic status and homicide rates of neighborhoods influenced individuals’ opinions of the police, this article details the findings of the telephone interviews. Researchers reported that individuals’ personal experience with police was just as important as residents’ impressions of their neighborhoods and quality of life. Furthermore, residents with a greater sense of neighborhood safety held higher opinions of the police, and Caucasian, nonblack minorities tended to be more satisfied with police performances than were minorities and younger individuals. The authors conclude that to increase public satisfaction, police administrators should specify the types of behavior residents should rightly expect, implement police officer training and field supervision to increase public satisfaction, and identify the types of public encounters they would like to have. Notes

Date Published: October 1, 2002